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MP: Former RSS member takes leads in mobilising protesters

By Newsd
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People call for statewide bandh in Karnataka, demand farmer loan waiver
Source Wikipedia

Shivkumar Sharma, former RSS leader and national convener of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, who has organised leadership of farmers’ protest in Madhya Pradesh, had also led a farmers’ protest against shortage of gunny bags in Bareli town. This was in 2012 while he was the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh’s (BKS), general secretary.

The 2012 protest had turned violent, with farmers setting on fire government property and vehicles. Protesters also beat up police and government officials. In the firing that followed, a farmer was killed and several others were injured. However, then also, the authorities had refused that the protesters had been fired upon. Despite the state rights panel probe in November 2012 which concluded that the police had used excessive force and fired 23 rounds, including 18 from an AK-47 weapon. Sharma was jailed and several cases were slapped against him. The RSS sacked him after the BJP sought Sharma’s expulsion while he was in jail.

The BJP accused him of blackmailing and instigating farmers because allegedly, his illegal demands for mining leases and other favours were not fulfilled. Sharma approached the Registrar of Firms and Societies after he was released on bail. After this, in 2013, Sharma was claimed to have backed lakhs of farmers and supported the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party.

Sharma had earlier surprised the state government by mobilising farmers, who entered Bhopal with tractor-trolleys at night and brought traffic to a standstill before 2012. He was nowhere in the picture when the latest agitation began on June 1.

Several years later as a similar situation arises in the state, Sharma said, “This anger is not sudden, but an explosion of pent-up feelings.’’ He asked the government to introspect rather than blaming “anti-social elements” for instigating the farmers. He insisted that eight farmers had been killed on Tuesday. “I have appealed protesters to keep calm but they are so angry that they are taking law into their own hands,’’ he said.